Congregation to decide fate of amnesiac minister

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com February 21 2001 1:00 AM ET

The future career of a gay Dallas minister will be decided by his congregation this week, since some members have voiced doubt regarding the saga he tells of a 16-year disappearance and amnesia. The Rev. James Simmons, who requested the Friday vote, said he won’t take the pulpit until at least two thirds of the congregation affirm him. Simmons, formerly known as Barre Cox, says he was beaten in 1984 and awoke from a coma hundreds of miles from home with no memory of his wife, his 6-month-old daughter, or his job as a youth minister at a San Antonio, Tex., church. His marriage to Beth Cox was dissolved when he was declared dead. In December he was giving an audition sermon at the predominately gay White Rock Community Church when a former acquaintance recognized him and had a friend put Simmons in touch with his family.